Nephi, the previous chief judge and now God’s prophet, returns from his missionary journey to the land northward, where he was rejected. He returns to find his homeland in disarray—the government in the hands of wicked and corrupt men and the people reveling in wickedness, calling good people bad, and letting the guilty go free, turning their backs on the poor and needy and persecuting church members.
And when Nephi saw it, his heart was swollen with sorrow within his breast; and he did exclaim in the agony of his soul.
Oh, that I could have had my days in the days when my father Nephi first came out of the land of Jerusalem, that I could have joyed with him in the promised land; then were his people easy to be entreated, firm to keep the commandments of God, and slow to be led to do iniquity; and they were quick to hearken unto the words of the Lord—
But behold, I am consigned that these are my days, and that my soul shall be filled with sorrow because of this the wickedness of my brethren”Helaman 7:6-7,9
It’s easy to think another time period would’ve been nicer to live in—like me wishing we had leaders today that were as moral and courageous and good as George Washington and other founding fathers and Abraham Lincoln. But this is our day, and like Nephi says, we need to deal with the lot we’ve been given.
Nephi pours his heart out to God on his tower in his garden, along the highway into Zarahemla. Many people gather around to discover the cause for his great mourning. When he finishes his prayer, he sees them and says:
Behold, why have ye gathered yourselves together? That I may tell you of your iniquities?”Helaman 7:13
He rebukes them for giving Satan such great hold upon their hearts. (15)
Yea, how could you have given way to the enticing of him who is seeking to hurl away your souls down to everlasting misery and endless wo?”Helaman 7:16
When put like that, why would we ever listen to the voices in the world that Satan inspires? Why do we let others manipulate us with fear and hate? Why don’t we trust in the God who loves us eternally? Why don’t we listen to our prophet, God’s seer on earth to guide us safely through the storms?
Nephi issues a command to repent and says:
O repent ye, repent ye! Why will ye die? Turn ye, turn ye unto the Lord your God.”Helaman 7:17
Repenting requires turning away from sin and weakness and facing God, which requires honestly seeing who we really are—not who we think we are. But seeing ourselves through His eyes.
He is all loving and yet He condones NO sin. Absolutely none. So when we turn to Him in repentance, we might feel pain as He shows us our sins and weaknesses we might have been blinded to before.
Yet, by letting Him show us who we really are, we become free from this natural man burden we carry and can also see our eternal potential. That opens up so many more possibilities that weren’t available to us before repentance.
Repentance opens up infinite possibilities for us through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
When we harden our hearts and don’t listen to the voice of the good Shepherd, we turn our backs to God and keep Him from helping us. We are left to our own devices. Our possibilities become finite and limited.
Nephi once again pleads with them to SEE:
O, how could you have forgotten your God in the very day that he has delivered you?”Helaman 7:20
He answers his own question.
But behold, it is to get gain, to be praised of men, yea, and that ye might get gold and silver. And ye have set your hearts upon the riches and vain things of this world…”Helaman 7:21
Nephi says if they don’t repent, they will lose their cities “for behold, the Lord will not grant unto you strength, as he has hitherto done, to withstand against your enemies.” (22)
Without God in our lives, not only our possibilities are limited, but our strength.
Nephi once again condemns them for uniting with the Gadiantons and being prideful.
Yea, wo shall come unto you because of that pride which ye have suffered to enter your hearts, which has lifted you up beyond that which is good because of your exceedingly great riches!”Helaman 7:26
Pride and fear are two things that block our eternal progression. They will stop us in our tracks and build a thick block wall between us and God, keeping Him from helping us.
So, do not let others manipulate you when they use fear, hate, pride, and pleasure-seeking to distract you. Turn to Christ, put your full trust in Him, and watch infinite possibilities open up before you.